When you want a longer time to get prepared for a court hearing or trial due to various different reasons, you will be able to apply for a continuance. A "continuance" changes the date of a court hearing or trial to a later date.
What is a continuance?
If you would be able to get a continuance from the judge, the continuance helps to change the date of a court hearing or trial to a later date. To change a court date, you must first get a judge's permission. You can ask the judge's permission for granting continuance by filing a motion. This motion asks the judge to reschedule a court date for hearing/trial. If the new court date for trial is after the current one, it is called a continuance.
What is a continuance hearing?
If the opposite side wouldn't conform to a continuance, the judge can decide whether or not to provide you with a continuance at a separate hearing known as a "continuance hearing." It's your responsibility to notify the opposite side of the date and time for the continuance hearing. If the opposite side agrees to the continuance, the judge can sometimes sign an order granting your continuance without holding a continuance hearing.
Will the judge provide you with continuance?
A judge can provide you with a continuance if you'll show good cause. “Good cause” means a sensible reason for changing the date of a trial that's already set.
Reasons you may want to ask for continuance include:
You did not get enough notice of the hearing. (The law says you need to get at least forty-five days’ notice of a final hearing, at least ten days’ notice of enforcement hearing and a minimum of three days’ notice of most other hearings. You can ask your lawyer if you've got any questions about notices.)
You need longer time to hire a lawyer or to get yourself legal aid (Provide the name of any lawyer's or legal aid organizations you had spoken to about your case in front of the judge in your continuance hearing)
You need a longer time to prepare yourself for the trial. ( As a defendant has a right to adequately prepare a defense; which includes the right of counsel to prepare).
You need longer time to get evidence or to secure a witness for the case. (however, you have to convince the court that the witness’s testimony is important to the case).